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European Championships Roundup: Best British Team Performance in 73 years

British Weight Lifting recorded its best European Weightlifting Championship results since the all-time high of 1948 after a superb team performance in Moscow, Russia.

European Championships Roundup: Best British Team Performance in 73 years

Images Batumi 2019

Great Britain won two overall Golds and one overall Silver at this year’s European Championships. In addition to the overall medals, when counting medals won in the snatch and clean & jerk it amounted to a record breaking five Golds & four Silvers in total.

This success is even more extraordinary given that Great Britain sent a reduced team of just four Olympic hopefuls and three coaches due to Covid-19.

Great Britain finished 6th in the medal tables for both the overall and combined tallies, beating many established nations such as Russia, Italy, Turkey & Albania.  The team was also the 3rd best female squad when ranked by medals.

Emily Muskett became the first British Weightlifter to win a European Championship since Myrtle Augee in 1995 and only tenth in history to do so by triumphing in the Women’s 71kg class. She won Silver in the snatch and Gold in the clean & jerk to win Gold overall.

The wait for another title was much shorter however, as Emily Campbell hit six out six lifts to dominate the Women’s 87kg+ category. She broke Commonwealth records in the clean & jerk and overall total as well as setting new British standards across the board.  Campbell became the first British lifter to win triple gold in a European event since Marie Forteath in 1988.

Sarah Davies won triple silver in the Women’s 64kg category after producing six good lifts for a new British record.  Pound for pound, she produced the second highest female Sinclair bodyweight score of the entire Championships only being surpassed by World Champion Loredana Toma who took Gold the same category.

The final athlete to form part of the team was Zoe Smith who finished a strong sixth in a very competitive Women’s 59kg group to boost her Tokyo 2020 chances with a good total of points to add to her previous scores. 

The squad was led by national coaches Stuart Martin, Andrew Callard, and Dave Sawyer.

Speaking about the results British Weightlifting CEO Ashley Metcalfe said: “British Weight Lifting would like to congratulate all the athletes, coaches and support personnel involved on this truly historic performance.

“It is fantastic to see Great Britain winning continental weightlifting titles after such a long period of time. The amount of interest and support from the sporting community and wider public has been incredible and hopefully these displays will help inspire a generation.

Currently the top 8 in each category qualify for the Tokyo 2020 alongside the best placed lifter in each continent and a tripartite wildcard decided by a panel.

Following these results each British team member is well placed to challenge within their respective categories and will also move up further following the recent withdrawal of North Korea and impending suspensions for Romania and Colombia.

The IWF are expected to amend the qualification system slightly but have assured that no athlete will be negatively impacted by these changes.

This places the 2021 team performance behind the all-time high of 1948 where two overall Golds and two overall Silvers were won courtesy of Julien Creus (Gold), Jim Halliday (Gold), William Watson (Silver) and Alfred Knight (Silver).

One of the driving forces behind the recent success was UK Sport. Last December weightlifting was awarded £1,350,000 in Progression Funding by UK Sport for Paris 2024 and beyond. Progression Funding helps sports to establish world class infrastructures and environments which will give athletes the best platform to assist them in achieving their Olympic ambitions and long-term sporting goals.

Previously weightlifting was awarded £192,500 in 2018 when Aspirational Funding was originally unveiled for sports without funding. This funding increase demonstrates how elite weightlifting has gone from strength to strength in recent years, delivering consistent medal performances at the highest levels across the Commonwealth Games, European Championships & World Championships.

Metcalfe said “I would like to thank UK Sport for their continued support through Aspiration Funding which has ensured all our elite lifters were given the best possible opportunities to qualify for Tokyo,”

“The funding has ensured that Great Britain’s leading lifters have remained on track throughout the qualifying period and British Weight Lifting is extremely grateful for the support given the challenges experienced as a result of the worldwide pandemic.

“It is brilliant for us to begin to repay the faith shown in us last December and we will continue to work hard to try and maximise our opportunities to best prepare our athletes for Tokyo 2020, Birmingham 2022 and beyond”.



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